Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Losing dreams you've come to care about

Well here we are... this is the morning I will never forget... 

It was about 8 in the morning. I woke up still feeling sick from the night before. I usually try to brush off morning sickness, typical stubborn me... like I can control it or something. I had gotten up and moved around a bit, went a laid back down... the nausea wasn't leaving. So I did as I usually do, I gave in... I went to the bathroom and let my body take over. Right as I finally thought it was over.. I felt it. It was like someone just popped a water balloon in my pants. Only I wasn't at a Summer BBQ, and there was no laughter from people throwing over filled balloons at each other. I knew what had just happened. As soon as I could I quickly woke Sam up.. I said "Something's wrong!!! I think my water just broke!" I was trying to stay calm but the thoughts in my head were pouring in faster than I could think. I called my Dr's office and left a message for the on call nurse. I called my mom... I can't remember if I was crying yet or not. I told her what happened and she told me what I already knew... I was in a state of total denial. "Maybe that wasn't it! Maybe I just peed my pants..." the one time in my life I was praying I had just peed my pants. I thought, OK.. even if it was my water that broke, I'm sure it's fine! I know the fluid can rebuild itself... I just have to make it 23 weeks. Just breath. Take a shower. Calm yourself down. It felt like hours before that nurse called me back. She said I needed to come in right away, my Dr was out for the day, but I would see someone else. I was used to that... I had already seen almost every doctor in their office. Sam was going to call in to work, I tried to convince him to just go. It would be fine.. Olivia would be fine. I had to rush to the doctors many times before, and it always turned out fine. I think that was the denial talking. I'm glad he didn't listen to my craziness. We got ready, and headed out. We drove there in silence. I don't think either of us knew what was going to happen... and I certainly didn't want to think or even face the fact that this wasn't good... I couldn't.

What felt like hours later, we finally saw the doctor. She listened to me tell her what happened. She explained that sometimes a blood clot can build fluid around it and maybe that's what I had felt. And since I was bleeding so much that made perfect sense. I was silently begging... PLEASE!! PLEASE LET THAT BLOOD CLOT BE GONE. She did a test for fluid and it came back negative. My hope had increased even more. I felt good. She wanted to do an ultrasound just to be sure. They brought in the portable ultrasound machine. Loaded me up with gel and she took a look. Now I wasn't totally new to this ultrasound thing, I had already had about 10 before this. And while I certainly wasn't a professional... I knew that what we were looking at was not good. I couldn't see Olivia. Where was my girl?! I was struggling to look, frantically searching the screen for the flicker of her heart beating. Phew.. there it was. She was there. But I knew something wasn't right... The Dr didn't say much, she wanted to get me into a room with a higher quality machine. We went right over to another room... I knew the drill. 

As we came in, they had my ultrasound pictures from last week up on a couple different computer screens. I could tell it was pictures of my amniotic fluid, which last week they said I had more than enough. I laid down on the bed. My eyes were burning a hole through the TV screen on the wall in front me. I waited as she loaded me up with more gel and there it was again... a jumbled image of what was inside of me. I couldn't see the Olivia I saw last week. It was blurry, black and jumbled. I watched as she measured the fluid.. and my worst fears were officially confirmed. No fluid. My water had broke. We were then taken back to the other room. Our Dr came in.. she looked like she was struggling to say what I was already thinking. She handed me a box of tissues, and started going over our options. It hit me like 500 tons of bricks, all at once... I just burst into tears. I couldn't handle it. I am so grateful that I had Sam there, full of so much strength. He kept me from breaking, even though I knew he felt exactly as I did. My hope was fading.. fast. There was so much information being thrown at us, I couldn't keep up. My Dr said, "You can choose to end the pregnancy." they said even if Olivia made it the risks of health problems were overwhelming. I hardly even blinked before I said "No". I thought, who I am to play God. I'm not going to decide to end her life just because my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. I didn't care if she came out blind... as long as she came out. Breathing, smiling, living.... So we were told the quick version of what had to happen now, they sent us off to the perinatal OB over by St. Vincents with a prescription for antibiotics and a prayer.

This day so far had been filled with a lot of waiting, hoping, and questions... and it wasn't going to end. The perinatal OB said that the next 48 hours were crucial. I could go into labor, I could get an infection, Olivia could get an infection. I was to not move.. to drink more water than I could even handle, and to pray like I had never prayed before. Once I made it to 23 weeks I would be hospitalized. I thought OK, Olivia... 14 days. Please.... Please hang on for 14 days. I was trying to stay strong... to stay relaxed for Olivia, and for my body. We left feeling as hopeful as we could. I wasn't in any pain, no contractions... I even managed to laugh a few times. I went straight to bed when we got home. I laid there trying to calm myself down. Trying to get a sense of what was going on. I hooked up the doppler and listened to Olivia's heart beating... there was no sound more calming to me. Knowing she was with me still gave me peace. I felt like our chances were good. Olivia had survived all the other trauma my body had gone through. I begged and pleaded and prayed... please.. please let this work out. Two weeks away had never felt longer... 

A few hours later I started feeling some cramping... but it wasn't consistent, it wasn't painful. Jennifer came over, she brought me ice cream and just laid with me and talked. She tried to time the pains... they seemed to be about 10-15 minutes apart. We called the on-call doctor. He said to stay put for now. If they get stronger call me back. Looking back I should have just gone in, I always think maybe they could have done something. Maybe they could have stopped what was about to happen. Eventually Jen left, and I decided to try and sleep, which was nearly impossible, but I managed to doze off for an hour or two. I woke up at about 1am to use the restroom. I never understood how I was supposed to be drinking all this water.. but not supposed to be getting up. I don't really know how to write what happened next. It's hard for me to even think about.... I didn't feel any different. The pains had stopped. I thought I was going to go back to bed and wake up the next morning and be 24 hours down and feeling great. But when I went to wipe... I felt something. At first I had no idea what, I though I had started bleeding again. But when I felt again I couldn't deny it... I ran into the bedroom. "We have to go!! We have to go NOW!!" Sam didn't know why and I couldn't bring myself to tell him. To tell him it was over.. That I didn't see a happy ending anymore. That what I had felt was our baby girl's foot... 

I called the hospital - told them we were coming in. and we left. I was admitted to Meridian Park Hospital. This wasn't the plan... This wasn't supposed to happen until September. Everything after that is very blurry. Our nurse Mary Ann.. she was so sweet. She fought back her own tears as she explained to me what was happening. I was dilated 4cm. And Olivia's leg had come out of my cervix. That there was nothing they could do. That even though my babies heart was still beating away.... I had to let her go. I didn't know how I was going to say goodbye. How I could just let this happen. I wanted to die. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. But all I could do was listen... everything was happening too fast. I was finally hooked up to an IV after 5 attempts... and received an epidural after 3 attempts. I had been poked, prodded, stabbed.. devastated. I couldn't feel anymore pain.. I went numb. Physically and emotionally. They wanted to induce me but I said no. I wanted it to happen on its own... I couldn't bear the thought of forcing Olivia's heart to stop beating. The rest of that day was filled with family, friends, tears, smiles, sadness, laughter... you name it. Sam and I couldn't believe what was happening. Sam was being so amazing and strong. How do you prepare to lose a daughter that you've never even met? We had decided we wanted to see her, to hold her... they said she might come out alive but wouldn't stay that way for more than a moment. We wanted to share Olivia with everyone. There were so many people in that hospital for her, so much love for her. I didn't understand how someone who was so wanted and loved.. didn't even get a chance to survive. I was heart broken. About an hour or so before I went into actual labor, I asked Tammy, our angel of a nurse, if we could listen to Olivia's heart beat again. I wanted to hear it one last time. She looked at me, and agreed even though we both knew it might not be there. After a couple seconds of searching.. there it was. The most perfect sound. I never want to forget that sound. I silently said my goodbyes and felt like it was time to let go. Finally.. at 6:47pm on May 18th, Miss Olivia came into this world. Her heart was no longer beating... but she was perfect. I remember holding her and thinking... breath. please breath. I knew it wasn't physically possible but all I could hear in my head was her beating heart we had just heard not long before.... I had never felt such devastation and love in the same moment. In a room filled with tears... everyone said their hellos, and goodbyes, to our baby girl. She had left us.

The rest is a blur...  I couldn't wrap my mind around it.. sometimes I still can't. I miss her every moment of every day. She was apart me. She was something we created. She was our daughter, and she was gone.... As painful as it was, I never want to forget those 2 days. Or 21 weeks for that matter. I want to look back on this and remember, and know that while her life was short it was powerful...

“In this life we will encounter hurts and trials that we will not be able to change; we are just going to have to allow them to change us.” -Ron Lee Davis


  1. I found your blog on babybump.
    I dont know you and you don't know me, but we have walked similar roads.
    I lost my angle at 35 1/2 weeks, I dropped on thur, went in for a sono and stress test on fri, all was good. By sunday morning Micah was gone.
    The pain was so great. My son would be 3 1/2 on the 19th. I still think of Micah every day. Some days it feels like I just lost him, other days I can smile about his long fingers and toes (like his daddy).
    Know the Lord will sustain you. You may never understand, but you will become a stronger person. You are a mommy.

  2. Hi Deborah.. I'm so sorry for your loss. I will never understand why we have to become mommies in this way, But I have hope for the future. Wishing you all the best.